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Health Plans Focus on Tools to Make Price and Quality of Care More Transparent

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Tools Showing Cost and Quality of Hospital and Physician Care Slow to Catch on With Consumers

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Health plans are increasingly developing tools to help people more easily understand the price and quality of their health care, but few people to date are taking advantage of this information. That’s the finding of a study released by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC).

Many large employers think that making information about price and quality of health care more transparent will help their employees act as true health care consumers—weighing the quality and cost of care provided by different providers, and taking more responsibility for medical costs, lifestyle choices and treatment decisions. The study found that some health plans view providing this type of information as creating a competitive advantage, while others are skeptical.

The study showed relatively few health plans, however, currently report price information for physician services. Those that do generally provide the average cost of a physician visit in a particular geographic area, without evaluating the costs specific to particular physicians.

The study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Read the news release.
Read the study.

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